Influential ASCE Leader in Alabama Named Fellow

November 18, 2016


William J. Connell Jr., P.E., L.S., F.ASCE, a second-generation professional civil engineer and land surveyor who founded his own firm, has been named a Fellow by the ASCE Board of Direction.

From accompanying his father on construction projects as a preteen, to rodding and chaining for him as a teenager in the 1930s, to founding Connell, Bell & Ellis, Engineers/Architects in the 1970s, he has run the full gamut of civil, structural, and surveying projects. His professional experience starts with construction, land, and geodetic surveys, continues into field engineering on major construction projects, and extends to design, preparation of plans, and specifications and inspection for bridges, buildings, marinas, airports, subdivisions, municipal thoroughfares, and utilities, as well as extensive forensic work. As CBE’s president and chief engineer, he was in private practice for 23 years, retiring in the 1990s.

An ASCE Life Member, Connell has remained active in the Society since he was a Student Member at Auburn University. He chaired the first State Section meeting in North Alabama in 1962, became a founding member of the Huntsville Branch in 1963, chaired the organization in 1963-64, and served as president of the State Section in 1967-68.

Serving as delegate to local section conferences and District 10 council meetings, he was subsequently appointed to the Society’s National Committee on Engineering Management and was its chairman in 1974. That year he had the honor of co-chairing a management session of the 22nd Joint Engineering Management Conference between the United States, Mexico, and Canada, held in Mexico City. His other professional society activities include being active in and serving as president of the American Consulting Engineers Council of Alabama and Huntsville’s Society of American Military Engineers, the largest post in the country at that time. He continues to attend the ASCE Huntsville Branch meetings.

Connell attended Auburn University, receiving his baccalaureate degree in civil engineering in 1952. After two years with the Corps of Engineers on active duty and three years as surveyor and field engineer on hydroelectric projects, steam power plants, and steel mill construction, he attained dual registration as P.E. and land surveyor. Returning to Auburn in 1957 on a teaching fellowship, he completed postgraduate studies and earned the master’s degree in civil engineering, majoring in structures with a minor in highways.

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